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Fishhead reunion

I’m blaming it on Stewie.

A midweek ” yes, Wednesday is midweek ” concert at the Bel­ly Up with show time listed at 10 p.m. is usually out of my aged wheelhouse. After all, what band ever starts on time? And I do have to make a post-show downvalley drive, and the news comes on at 10 p.m., and I kind of like to watch that and I might want to get up and go skiing and and … I can come up with a thousand, no a million, excuses not to go to a 10 p.m. midweek show.

But Stewie wrote a story on the Radiators, who were booked at the Belly Wednesday night, and it was so compelling, so interesting that I was forced to call my ‘Nawlins buddy who was here in town and ask “you goin’?”



“Yeah,” he replied. “My buddy Frank [that would be the Rads drummer Frank Bua] just put me on a list with a plus one. Wanna be my plus one?”

I was locked in.




Due to various complications (I was on time!) we got to the show about 11 p.m. and the sweat was already pouring from Zeke’s brow and beard. The crowd was in full Fishhead form, with graybeards and kids whose parents were old enough to have been kids when the Radiators first got together shaking it in the pit in front of the stage.

I have seen the Rads a couple of times before, but it had been a few years. What I remember was an infectious funk sound. Each song seemed to groove and make everybody in the crowd move, but I had forgotten the dual guitar riffs that screamed, sometimes in unison and often in contrast to each other.

Guitarist Camile Baudoin looked like a middle-aged school­teacher or a CPA with his Dockers, Tommy Bahama shirt, ample bel­ly, balding pate and eyeglasses, but he just ripped. Every time it came his turn to solo he ran the neck of his Gibson with the facile fingers of a teenager. Using pick and fingers, he had guitar tricks that could only be mastered by a man who has been rocking for a lifetime.

Camile traded solos in every song, and sometimes more than once with singer and guitarist Dave Malone, equally mature but imbued with long curly hair and a white beard that definitely looked more musicianlike than Camile’s “What’s My Line?” disguise. Mal­one looked like he was having as much fun as a man could have as he tore up his Fender with the same virtuosity and verve that his fel­low guitarist shared. It was ripper heaven as the two went back and forth on each tune.

And then there was Zeke, the Radiators signature keyboard play­er, songwriter, singer and icon. Ed Volker, as Zeke is know when he is not laying down the funk, tickled the keys of his Yamaha upright electric piano and banged the keyboard of his Hammond organ, all while crooning and snapping out the lyrics to the Rads’ best tunes. Drummer Frank and bassist Reggie Scanlan laid down a rhythm bed that allowed everybody to be free.

And it wasn’t just the Rads’ tunes. The ultra-funky version of the Talking Heads “Burning Down the House” sounded as if it were writ­ten by Louisiana blues boys rather than Rhode Island School of Design pop kids. The encore of Traffic’s “Feelin’ Alright” gave Camile and Dave more than enough time to wrap things up with enough tasty licks to last far into the night.

All who came had a good time. I missed the 10 p.m. news and the drive home in the snow was accentuated by the ringing of guitars in my ears.

I blame it on Stewie.


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